On average in our small county in Colorado there are 1,000 children in foster care. On average in our small county there are 40 children waiting to be adopted. The number one reason children in our county are placed into care: sexual abuse.
I believe many of us American Christians have (mistakenly) taken on the belief that we are to avoid discomfort at all cost. And in fact, we have been lied to for so long that we have so deceived ourselves into calling this many good things; protecting our children, providing security, "being wise", using our heads, etc. But in reality, when we look at the life of Jesus, He did none of these things.
Let me side note so I don't loose all of you just yet... I do believe there is a huge need for wisdom, and we are always seeking that out. But what we have learned is that there is a difference between wisdom with our finances, children, relationships, etc. and hoarding, overprotecting, and distrust in God's promises to lead, protect, and provide. If you have enough money in the bank to not have to trust God, it's a lot easier to not have to trust God. If you protect your children from the world, it's a lot easier to not have to trust God to protect and provide for them. I see a pendulum, that as American Christians we have swung to an extreme, calling it wisdom, but in reality it looks more like selfishness, hoarding, and hiding. And on the other side of the pendulum there is stupidity. Where you leap before you look, don't count the cost, don't plan, waste your finances, etc. There is a middle ground though, it is called... hmmm, I don't know. Maybe just balance? Trust? This is a place where we count the cost, we know it will cost us everything, and yet we go. We are prepared, we have planned, we have used wisdom, and we love recklessly and with abandon, we give, we save, we eat with the poor, yet have favor with the leaders, etc.
Injecting ourselves into hurt and brokenness is exactly what Jesus called us to do. And he called us to it with his actions. I love the parable of the banquet (Luke 14:12-24). I feel as if this is a story of the American church today, we all want to share in our wealth and bless people, but we are to busy for one another. Maybe community hasn't worked in our churches and groups because we're all to busy securing our securities. The parable goes like this, a rich man throws a huge party with tons of food. He invites all his friends. But when he sends his servant to go get them they all have an excuse. They're too busy to come to his party (Anybody had that happen?). So he invites all of the poor, the sick, the downtrodden, the diseased, and they come.
So Jesus says, When you throw a party, invite those who don't get invited. Invite the hurt and the broken, the blind, the diseased. Because they can't repay you. Don't invite those into your life who can repay you, invite people into your life who cannot repay you, because then you are truly giving. I feel as if often times the American church has become a bunch of rich men repaying one another...
I don't want to sound bitter or condescending, because I'm not. I'm living this tension daily. How do we spend it all, leave it all, die to ourselves; and still provide for our children? How do we spend wisely, save frugally, and give recklessly? How do we protect our children from evil and encourage them to be light in the darkness? How do we help to heal brokenness and hurt without breaking and hurting with those who we want to help?
But we need to be challenged. We have lived on this side of the pendulum that we call wisdom, we have protected ourselves, our children, our security, and our lives with such force, that we have lost sight of the work we have been called to. The work of the hurt and broken, the work that does not get repaid here. The work that puts our lives at risk, maybe not our physical lives here in America, but maybe our comfortable lives?
For us, in this season, it is our children. We have interjected ourselves into the hurt and brokenness of what is our foster care system. We have called it our own. And we have been hurt and broken with them. And we will continue to be. Because we knew we had to do something. It is not the wisest thing, our finances aren't “where they should be”, we've gotten our hearts broken, we've seen hurt at it's core. We have knowingly put Tre at risk, he can no longer be the sole focus of our efforts, he is sometimes hurt or exposed to things that most six year olds are not. Yet we feel a burden to invite those who cannot repay us into our home and hearts. And in this place, we have seen extreme hope, healing, restoration, and passion. We have been surrounded by people who support and love us. There have been months when we could not provide, and yet somehow, there has always been an abundance. He has met us here, in the lost and broken world of foster care and American orphans.
At another point in our lives, this aspect of our faith might look very different than it does today. Maybe for you He is asking that you give in a reckless way with your finances, maybe with your time, maybe with your abilities. But we as the American church have a long way to go (us included). Let's risk something, in faith, believing that God will meet us at His call. Because He will. And the fulfillment and blessing that comes when interjecting ourselves into the places that need true hope, is something that will not be seen in this world.
That is our why.
That is our tension.
A line from my favorite song that sums it up... "Love is not a victory march; it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah."